Clear skies in northwestern Nevada on Monday may allow tens of thousands of people to leave the Burning Man festival, where they have been stranded for days by rain that has washed away the event’s remote desert site, organizers said.
An improved forecast may allow for a traditional climax to the celebration of art, music and counterculture: the burning of a human-tall wooden effigy, postponed twice because of weather.
The delay was attributed to muddy conditions and inability to transport heavy and fire-fighting equipment to the burning site. Officials said in a social media account Attached to the festival. The burn was originally scheduled for Saturday night, but was postponed to Sunday, then again to Monday night.
Weather is expected to remain dry and hot across the region on Monday, but a low pressure system is expected to bring light rain from Monday night into Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service said.
Festival organizers on Sunday said mud and rain had made the main road impassable in and out of the festival venue. The event takes place in Black Rock City, a temporary community that pops up every year in the middle of the Black Rock Desert in northwestern Nevada. Officials are expected to announce whether people will be allowed to leave by 9 a.m. local time, with alternate routes being developed and available on Monday.
By Sunday night, the atmosphere around Black Rock City had turned milder and more subdued than Saturday, with attendees urged to stay put and conserve food and water. Many of the dances and bar structures were removed during the dry lull on Sunday afternoon, and by evening, participants, who call themselves Burners, were walking around the still-soaked grounds, many with plastic bags over their shoes. Oatmeal-thick slime.
The transient city hosts more than 70,000 people each year and is a three-hour drive from the nearest airport, which is more than 100 miles away in Reno. This year’s festival started on August 27.
Officials are investigating the death of one participant, but said it does not appear to be weather-related.
The festival site has been flooded since Friday, creating dangerous and muddy conditions for those trying to leave. Other parts of Nevada were also hit by fast-moving thunderstorms and flash flooding over the weekend. There has been severe flooding in the Las Vegas area as well.
Attempts to escape from the site are spreading widely on social networking sites including Video posted by music producer Diplo. He said on Saturday that he and comedian Chris Rock walked five miles through the mud before being carried away by fans. The video shows the men and others sandwiched in the back of a pickup truck.
Another burner, Neal Katyal, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former acting solicitor general in the Obama administration, was among those who hiked six miles to the nearby town of Gerlach. He and others trekked with essentials in their backpacks, bare feet with plastic bags over socks, then stuffed into boots or shoes.
On Sunday afternoon, a White House official said President Biden had been briefed on the situation and that administration officials had been in contact with state and local officials.
Reno Mayor Hilary Schieve said Sunday on social media The city is working with regional partners to prepare for the mass evacuation of Burning Man. Some parking lots at the local convention center were usable, he said.
But for a festival that prides itself on self-confidence and self-reliance, some attendees took issue with the confusion.
“It was the best Burning Man I’ve ever been to,” said Fausto Zapata, 51, of Los Angeles. “People found community in anticipation of disaster. If at the end of the day Burning Man is about serious self-confidence, it came out in more serious ways this year. “
Anna Betts And Amanda Holbuch Contributed report.